Journalists slaughtered in the Philippines

Journalists and others around the world have
reacted with horror to the latest political slaughter in the Philippines. With the full death toll still uncertain,
some 36 people are reported dead – a dozen or more of them journalists.  Twenty-one bodies have been recovered. It’s thought others may have been buried.

The International News Safety Institute
called it “
the blackest
day in the history of journalism in the Philippines, already one of the
deadliest nations on earth for the news media.”
Reporters Without Borders said it was “an incomprehensible
bloodbath”.  An adviser to President Gloria
Arroyo described it as “a gruesome massacre of civilians unequalled in recent


The killing occurred Monday in
Maguindanao province, where a local mayor was trying to challenge the governor
in elections to be held next year. The
mayor’s wife, accompanied by up to 40 politicians, lawyers and journalists, set
off to file his nomination papers, but her convoy was intercepted by about 100
gunmen. Reports say the passengers in all three vehicles of the convoy were
taken away and killed.


Political killings are not
uncommon in Maguindanao province, so much so that the lead in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday referred to this one as “the first political mass
murder of  the election season.”